Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune Hunter: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin --- 473 pages

Definitely written for the Downton Abbey fans who can't get enough of stories about the rich and regal in late Victorian-Edwardian England. The Fortune Hunter sets up a romantic triangle comprising dashing but impecunious Army Captain Bay Middleton with an eye for a good horse and for a vulnerable woman;  intelligent but too kind for her own good heiress Charlotte Baird, who fills in her lonely hours with a passion for photography; and the fabulously beautiful, willful and unhappily married Empress Elizabeth of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.  

The fact that all of her main characters, and the broad outline of her story, are actual historical persons, adds a little fillip to the tale, although we don't find this out until the Author's Note at the end. The fact that Goodwin calls the Empress Elizabeth the "Princess Diana" of her time tells the reader what she can anticipate. Goodwin can write entertainingly --- it's a shame she wastes her talents on characters whose lives are consumed by the frivolous and trivial. We have no idea, of course, whether Goodwin's characters and plot bear the least resemblance to the real people and lives she has appropriated. I can only assume that Bay Middleton and Charlotte Baird have no living descendants to be either embarrassed or gratified by this book.

Click HERE for a review of The Fortune Hunter.

Click HERE to watch the author talking about her fascination with the Empress Elizabeth.

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